Meet the Maker – Lampwork Beads by Jo
Joanne Joyce from Lampwork Beads by Jo started making jewellery over a decade ago, but after her first lampworking lesson the process of making glass beads at the flame had her hooked. As well as using the lampwork beads in her own designs, her colourful glass beads are hugely popular with other jewellers too. Printmaker and fellow Folksy seller Kerry Day finds out more about the lampworking technique and where the inspiration for Jo’s colour combinations comes from…
Lampworking chose me. As soon as I had my first lesson I knew it was something I was going to carry on doing.
When and how did you get into jewellery design? Are you self taught or trained?
I started jewellery making around 13 years ago. I am self taught using books, magazines and the internet. There are lots of great tutorials out there for people looking to start making jewellery or to advance their skills. I started lampworking 10 years ago but I have had a few lessons to learn how to do that.
I do enjoy making animals, and sometimes you can start off making a cat and end up with a dog!
I must admit I know very little about glass bead making. What is lampwork beading?
Lampworking is the technique used to make the glass beads. It’s a type of glass work where a torch is used to melt the glass and form the beads. It is called lampwork due to the oil-filled lamps that were once used – we have propane-fuelled torches now though.
Lampworking gets its name from the oil-filled lamps that were once used – we have propane-fuelled torches now though.
Why did you choose this as a creative medium? Or did it choose you?
I would say lampworking chose me. As soon as I had my first lesson I knew it was something I was going to carry on doing. I really love opening the kiln in the morning and seeing how the pieces I made the day before have turned out. Sometimes working with glass can be tricky as the colours change in the heat and if you’re using reactive glass you don’t know how it’s going to alter in the kiln.
Do the shapes just evolve or do you have a definite plan beforehand?
I don’t tend to have a plan when I’m at the flame – I just make what I feel like at the time. With a lot of my beads I use a brass press or graphite marver to shape them. I do enjoy making animals, and sometimes you can start off making a cat and end up with a dog!
A lot of the time my colour inspiration comes from two different rods of glass that have fallen next to each other.
Where does your inspiration come from?
I’m a messy worker, and a lot of the time my colour inspiration comes from two different rods of glass that have fallen next to each other. They can be colours that you would never usually put together but when they’re lying next to each other you think, hmmm, I may give that a try.
Do you work solely with glass? Are there other mediums you would like to try?
I usually work with glass and I love making my beads up into jewellery. When I’m not doing that I’m usually cross stitching, doing crochet or card making. I enjoy all crafts and mediums and will give anything a go.
You seem to be doing very well selling online. Do you have any tips for newbies considering joining Folksy?
I would say that you won’t get miracles overnight, you have to work daily on your shop and promote, promote, promote! Try to have clear photographs from each angle and full descriptions. It can be hard work at times but it’s worth it.
My studio is brick built and around the size of a garage.
Describe your studio or workplace?
I’m extremely lucky to have my own space to work in. My studio is brick built and around the size of a garage. We had it made in the garden when we moved into the house six years ago. I use most of the space for my glass work but I also have a table for card making.
If you could peek inside the studio of any artist, designer or craftsman who would it be and why?
I think it would have to be someone who made ceramics. It’s something I’d love to try as I love all kinds of ceramic art, whether it’s sculpture, vases or beads. I would love to see the process of making ceramics first hand.
I don’t tend to have a plan when I’m at the flame – I just make what I feel like at the time.
What handmade possession do you most cherish?
It would have to be the throw I cross stitched for my son when he was born. It took quite a while to make and was probably the biggest thing I had cross stitched at that point but it is a lovely keepsake.
To celebrate being our featured maker Jo is offering 10% off all her lampwork beads and jewellery. Just use the code ‘folksyfeature’ when you order before 30th October – click here to shop Lampwork Beads by Jo
The maker asking Jo the questions this week is Bristol-based printmaker Kerry Day. Kerry specialises in botanical lino prints, featuring her much-loved collection of cacti, succulents and houseplants. She has recently gone back to her ceramic roots with a range of planters that combine pottery with lino.